November 25, 2012

“MOM, I am in home it is not safe to go out,

I want to come to Kangundo.” She managed to get a taxi to where she could get a bus to Kangundo before the roads were blocked off after the terrible explosion by the terrorists of a bus going through Eastleigh.  Her little room was just short blocks from the explosion and even her area was flooded with the thieves who came to rob and hurt those who were trying to protect their little shops. She could not sleep all night long with all the terror surrounding her. People were literally prisoners in their own homes till the security forces brought calm after three days.  But God has called her to minister in Eastleigh so she bravely returned Saturday to serve in the church and be faithful to where God called her.

**“Mom can you please come and encourage us on how to live for the Lord?” this from two young men who came to our home and earnestly asked us to come talk to the boys on the Victory soccer team.  Of course we went and words fail to describe the intensity of their faces as we shared that they also had to choose which “team” they would be on in this world, God’s or Satan’s.  We shared about God’s great love for them and that he wanted them as sons.  It was just a short time of sharing and giving out a work sheet with questions and verses before they went to play the next game but one by one they expressed thanks and “please come again”.  We didn’t count the number today but were told they numbered 40 last Sunday.

Just a couple of their little testimonies to share:

“Victory soccer team has made me change my life to Christianity, PRAISE THE LORD.”

“The soccer team has built me spiritually; am now saved and changed my behavior”.

This young man recently lost his father and his mother is HIV positive and they live with a grandmother that is also HIV positive.  When his father died his family “chased” them away from their family home.  Things are hard and there is barely money for food let alone money to finish his high school education.  But he came to church to play soccer, got saved and brought his mother to church and she now also is a believer.   Pray with us for this family.

** ”Mom you challenge me!”   Three months of encouraging her to try and set up her own business by giving her “homework” in which she had to figure costs, what would sell and what would produce profits, how to repay a loan, what would work and to think about all the hidden costs.  She was an eager learner and completed everything outlined to be done before she returned the next time.  She did sewing but realized till she was firmly established she had to find something else to help her pay the bills and so she wanted to combine a little “store” and her sewing.   She demonstrated a determined spirit  by not giving up when her father abandoned her and her brother when she was just in 9th grade.  She traveled to Nairobi and worked as a “causal” laborer for two years.  She wanted to go to school and so as she put it, “I worked and lived like a student wanting to go to school”.  No frills just work and bare existence and God heard her prayers that she offered to Him every day about going to school.   She was able to enroll in the Garments of Praise Tailoring Institute at the end of the two years and graduated in March 2012.  I believe she will succeed and become a wise business owner.

**  Get a feeding program for 27 at the tailoring school up and running in 4 days!!!  IMPOSSIBLE.           But praise God he is the God of the impossible and as we sought the help and guidance of the blessed Holy Spirit he undertook and things fell into place in an orderly way.  (even fast and furious can be orderly with HIM in charge)  Lots of work brought lots of joy as the students, many who before came to school with no breakfast and had no lunch, enjoyed the hot porridge with an egg, a banana, fresh bread or cookies for breakfast.  (peanut butter cookies are very nutritious and delicious for breakfast haven’t you heard of “breakfast cookies”) and five different hot meals at lunch.  You wouldn’t believe how much these students can eat!  All this THANKS to the wonderful board and partners God has given us.  I sincerely wish each of you could know the real difference your gifts of love are making.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you mom!!” (notice mom gets all the thank you’s and hugs but it is really you who deserve it) These words were from a young single mom whose body was literally shaking with sobs as she hugged me.  As tears streamed down her face she explained she had been rising before day break to go dig the heavy clay soil of neighboring “shambas”  (gardens) to provide food and school fees for her little daughter.  Some days she even missed school to finish the work.  Her father is a drunkard and expects her to provide for him as well even as she is struggling to learn to be a tailor at Garments of Praise Tailoring Institute so she can become independent and provide for herself and her child.  And what amazing thing had I done to get all these thank yous?  I had given her 1000 shillings, about $12 for the month to help lighten her load.

Thank you for your prayers!!! Thank you for your encouragement!!  Thank you for the financial support!!

May God richly reward you for all you do.  Each time I write “mom” it is really all of you who are standing in the gap to help us minister and serve the precious Kenyan and Ethiopians God has called us to serve.

November 12, 2012

A soccer mom at 76?? 

Yes, and I am loving it.  God opened doors to provide a soccer ball to a group of young men, 14-20.  Week one:  11 “bad boys”, who had never set foot in a church before, caught sight of the boys at church kicking a ball around and came to see what was up.  They stayed for church and 7 got saved and immediately there were 14 young men in the “club”.  Week two: we officially launched the Victory Evangelical soccer team with 20 plus players.   Week three; The players filled out the allotted 30 members and of course some uniforms had to follow the ball and the first game was won. We are in week 6 and so far the team has won all but one match of the 6 games played.

We were able to attend the last game and I was amazed to see some who didn’t even have shoes that matched let alone the right shoes for the game.  But they played with such heart and didn’t give up. I am praying God will let us be a blessing to them and to let us continue to be blessed by their enthusiasm and joy for both the game and Jesus.

Let me share just a few testimonies they shared with me.

“The Victory team has enabled me to utilize my leisure wisely.  Before I had joined the team I was not a believer but now I am born again” (age 17)

“The Victory Evangelical team has changed my life and enabled me to grow spiritually and is changing the lives of many youth of my age.  (age 18)

“Victory soccer team has helped me to abstain from drugs and changed me to a spiritual life.” (age 16)

“The Victory soccer team has enabled me to abstain from bad companions.  Before I joined the team I was not saved but now I know Jesus”.  (age 16)

All 30 of them gave me a brief testimony and each alone would have been well worth the “price” of a ball.  How wonderful is our God to allow us to have a small part in the lives of these precious youth.  They even asked me to come often and talk to them about spiritual things to help them grow and become strong for God and be able to witness to other youth as they play different clubs around the area.

Those who before had turned to drugs because they had no HOPE now have hope, eternal life and a new exciting life to grow and live for Jesus.  They are anxious to play the “game for fun” and use it to witness to others of the joy they have found in Jesus.

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I Timothy 1:12 “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work…” NLT

October 22, 2012

“Mom, can I come see you?”

“Mom, I need to come see you”,  is an often repeated phrase and it can mean anything from I need prayer to I am in a desperate situation and don’t know what to do.  Such was the case this past week as a very young, sweet girl shared how she had married and had two children very close and then her husband started beating her and the children, often locking them either in the house or out of the house.   She finally fled and went to her mom’s some distance away;  knowing she had to learn a trade to support herself and her children she enrolled in the tailoring school and has been a very good student.  But in order to attend the school she has to stay with her grandmother in Kangundo and her children have to stay with her mother who lives far and is very busy and often gone from the home leaving the children ages 4 and 5 with a brother who is also often gone leaving the children alone.  She had been called that her children were very sick and needed medicine and she didn’t even have fare to go home to them.

Your prayers are often the avenue that God uses to provide wisdom and guidance in situations like this.  We are still working on the solution but I told her we would be here for her and she was not alone, often just a warm hug and  caring words are the life line they hang onto.  (praise God she has been able to bring the children to her grandmother’s and they will attend Shalom Learning Center, which is close by!!! Isn’t God great)

This same phrase was used two weeks ago and the situation was very desperate, the young woman was sick with malaria, typhoid and burcelosious (not sure of spelling), a disease gotten from bad water.  Again no money for medicine and on top of that her brother was robbed and beaten with a large rock, smashing in his face and he suffered a very severe concussion and is in a hospital in Nairobi.  We praise God he has turned the corner and is expected to live but life will be tough with a long recovery and the prospect of living his life with 8 front teeth missing and his family is much more impoverished as the family cow had to be sold to pay some of the hospital so they would continue to treat him.  $20 or $30 makes a huge difference in life and death situations here as with both typhoid and malaria and no medicines death is often the result.  But because people care, this young woman is now in good health and back at work.
Philipians 4:19 “My God SHALL supply all your needs…..”

October 18, 2012

“LORD…all we have accomplished you have done for us…”

Like refreshing rains the team from Calvary came and blessed many with their love, their joy, their wonderful attitudes and compassion.  They not only refreshed and blessed the Kenyans and Ethiopians but where of great encouragement to us in ways to numerous to count here.
It was wonderful to watch as they loved on the people we love and serve here.    We heard many comments on the joy and love that seemed to flow from them and the fact that they did not seem like strangers but like one of the people here.

This the first attempt to write and share with you some of the blessings we have found here and we will try and update you in a timely way on future blogs of day to day events.  Many days are so full we long to just go rest but even as we go to meet someone else in need of prayer, counciling or physical help we are the ones who come away blessed.

God truely directed in our name, “Garments of Praise”, and we seek to lift heavy burdens, encourage the lonely and those in dispare; exchange the spirit of heaviness for the “garment of praise” and help bring the joy of Jesus to his precious children here.  Life can be so incredible hard here but Jesus alway gives hope and often uses a human vessel to comfort with hugs and tears or smiles.  Your prayers are a precious gift from God and we could not survive with out them.
May the Joy of the Lord be your strength as you serve Him in your place of service
blessings and love